Markle has new clerk-treasurer as Hamilton retires

The Town of Markle has a new clerk-treasurer.

With the resignation and retirement of longtime Markle Clerk-Treasurer Carolyn Lane Hamilton on March 2, Deputy Clerk Stephenie Hensley was welcomed and unanimously voted to replace her at the Markle Town Council regular meeting on Wednesday, March 18.

Council President Aaron McClary recognized Hamilton’s efforts while acknowledging his support for Hensley.

“Carolyn did a fantastic job for many, many years. She was incredibly judicious in how she carried out her duties and was very good to work with, and will be sorely missed,” he said. “Stephenie Hensley has been serving in the clerk-treasurer’s office for some time now, learning the ropes, and I have full faith and confidence in her abilities to step into the role of clerk-treasurer.”

Councilman Matthew Doss echoed McClary’s words.

“To many, she was the face of Markle, to Markle residents and I think that her amount of years and the frustrations she had to go through, especially with a council who sometimes don’t understand things the way they should. I think she deserves a special award for that,” Doss said.

Freshman councilman Nick Lund also noted Hamilton’s achievements, saying the Town of Markle owes her a debt of gratitude.

“She’s left some big shoes to fill, but we have a lot of trust in Stephenie,” he said. “She’s mentored you and we hope that you’re able to jump right in and go for it. Your name rose to the top with no other choice for us right now, so we’re appreciative of that.”

Hensley said she was happy to have the support of the council and was appreciative of what they had to say about her abilities.

“I hope that I can do as good of a job as Carolyn did for so many years,” she said. “I learned a lot from her. I think I still have a lot to learn, but I think that this job is ever-changing, so I don’t think you’ll ever actually know everything.”

Hensley, who grew up in Markle, moved from Warren back to Markle in order to take the position. She has worked for the town since April 2017 and was deputized assistant clerk-treasurer in Oct. 2017.

The council also unanimously amended salary Ordinance 2019-3, enacting a new ordinance, 2020-1, that sets Hensley’s annual salary at $41,000.

Among items brought before the council:

• Ordinance 2020-2 was unanimously approved, which clarified language allowing for the appointment of members to the Markle Economic Development Commission.

• Resolution 2020-3 was also approved 3-0, which approves order of the Town of Markle Plan Commission.
Commission Member John Markley explained this takes in a “doughnut hole” property that was annexed last year into Tax Increment Financing, allowing the town to collect taxes associated with the property.

• Two bids were received for construction of the Novae Parkway extension project. The first was from API Construction Corporation for $399,547.50 and the second bid was from Fleming Excavating, of Decatur, for $412,093.30.

The council directed DLZ professional architectural and engineering design services to review the offers and report on findings before accepting the winning bid.

• The council considered whether to keep or sell the property at 480 N. Clark St. Town Assistant Mike Grant said a market analysis stated if the town installed an HVAC unit in the apartment they might be able to list the property for $89,900.

The council directed Clark to get two appraisals on the property before it decides whether to add HVAC or offer it as-is.

• On another property at 260 Lee St., Grant said two different estimates he got for constructing a building both “pushed the $300,000 mark.”

He added that of the two storage buildings the town is currently using, one is filled to capacity and the other is nearly falling down.

“It’s something we’ve discussed for years and we just haven’t done it,” he added.

Hensley said it was unclear at this point whether the town had the funds available to do the project at this time.

“I think it’s necessary,” she added. “It’s like, what do you do? Do you get an analysis?”

After discussing several options, council directed Grant to come back at a later date with more information on the proposed project.

• In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Markle Town Office will be closed to walk-in traffic; however, it will be open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Bills may be paid by using the drop-off box, submitting by mail, paying online or over the phone. The online and phone options both charge fees for the service.

• Doss issued a heartfelt plea to Markle citizens to take the coronavirus threat seriously, but not to forget those who are shut-ins.

“I am general counsel for a nursing home company. We have over 2,000 residents that are highly susceptible to the disease,” he said. “Whether you believe the crisis is real and will actually affect us, it is a crisis.”

Doss reiterated warnings that say those who are sick should stay home. With the ban on visitors including family members going into nursing facilities, he said he cannot enter his buildings anymore.

“It is causing a scary thing for these residents,” he said. “We can’t even have volunteer entertainers come in; we can’t have chaplains come in and pray for them, according to federal restrictions.”

Doss urged residents to create a plan of how to weather through the crisis, establish a line of communication with people and loved ones and do what they can for those who may become quarantined.

“This is what makes Markle a lot different from other communities,” he said. “I know that we have the power to do that.”

He added the town has a contingency in place in the event the council has to change plans before its next meeting. Updates will be posted on the town’s website, m